I'm sure that by now most of us have heard how beneficial yoga can be and as runners many of us are asking is Yoga for me?

WHY IS YOGA SO BENEFICIAL?

The health benefits of Yoga far exceed our needs as a runner, it is a mind, body, spirit activity that enables us to work from the inside out.

As stated in the Yoga Journals "38 Health Benefits of Yoga" yoga improves our lives in so many ways from improving flexability, strength and posture to making us Happier.  Now c'mon who couldn't use that?  Living in such a crazy world where every minute of our day is accounted for, yoga improves our focus and overall life balance.  Through stating your intention, focusing on your breath and taking part in shavasana people find that yoga that yoga even helps you learn how to relax.  Other benefits from yoga include improving self esteem, "encouraging self care" as well as "keeping allergies and viruses at bay".  

Yoga benefits runners in so many ways from simply taking a day off from running which may be hard enough to becoming the one day that we stretch each week.  Yoga teaches us to listen, become in tune and respect our bodies.  In an article written by Jennifer Van Allen in Runnersworld Magazine it says that "studies have shown that yoga squashes stress, aids weight loss, eases pain, helps people stick to an exercise routine, and even improves running times". 

In my personal experience, I have been doing yoga for a while and have found that it definately makes a difference in both me as a person and as an athlete.  Since incorporating it into my workouts in 2011, I have found that it makes me more more relaxed, balanced and stronger.  It forces me to be mindful of myself and to really listen to my body.  Sometimes, I will step in with one intention and quickly realize that my body is sending a different signal than my mind and that I that its probably something that I should honor.  

HOW CAN I START?

Maybe after reading hearing about all the benefits of yoga your ready to get started and add it into your workout routine and if thats the case than your pretty lucky because there are a lot of great classes now!  First you're going to want to find a classes that is convent for you to attend and the right type of class for you.  Nowadays there are a lot of different classes from beginners classes to vinyasa flow and restorative.  At first I would recommend to try a beginner class so that you can become familiar with the terminology and poses before joining something more advanced and if you find that your first class is not the right fit for you thats ok it might take a few tries.

When looking for your first class or maybe just something new, there are a lot of great classes in Rhode Island!!  Rhode Runner has a Saturday morning class from 9-10am, taught by Lori Goddard who is absolutely fabulous.  Her class is great for beginners or advanced Yogi's too!  She offers many modifications for different levels of ability and is just wonderful to be around.  If your looking to get started this weekend, Providence Power Yoga has their Fall Open House this Saturday with FREE classes from 8 to 10:30am.  But if your more of a South County Yogi, than I highly recommend Laughing Elephant Yoga, I've been going there for a few years and its in East Greenwich.  I've been to many of the different classes and all the teachers are fabulous and this spring Megan Eddy will be teaching a class that Yoga designed for Runners.

In addition to all of the great Yoga classes there are also many great yoga events including yoga and art making as well as yoga in the park.  

And just incase you wanted to try 15 minutes of Yoga at home I added a video from Runner's world Magazine taught by Rebecca Pacheco.

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